Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Garcia, Cards dismantle reeling Reds 11-1

Beltran homered for the fifth time in 2012

St. Louis, MO --  Manager Dusty Baker shuffled the lineup on Wednesday in an effort to revitalize a sputtering offense. Unfortunately, the new batting order yielded the same lackluster results. The Cardinals (9-3) hammered starter Mat Latos and the slumping Reds (4-8) early and often en route to a 11-1 victory -- winning for the fourth time in five tries over their counterparts from the Queen City.

St. Louis wasted no time in pouncing on the hapless Redlegs early, striking for three runs in the bottom of the first. They tacked on two more in the second frame thanks to a 2-run homer off the bat of Carlos Beltran.

Cincinnati managed to plate a run in the fifth before the Cards sent Latos to the showers with three more runs in the home half of the sixth. Mike Matheny's bunch added a trio of runs in the eighth to further extend their lead.

All told, this one was every bit as ugly as the box score indicated.

Here's a look at the good, the bad and the notables from the lopsided contest:

The Good:
- Well, at least they didn't get shutout.
- Devin Mesoraco picked up a pair of hits and made a fine defensive play by blocking the plate in the fourth, thus preventing a Cards runner from scoring.
- The heavily-criticized Alfredo Simon pitched a scoreless inning of relief while striking out one.
- Every Reds starter reached base safely...seven of them via hit.
- Scott Rolen pounded out a couple of knocks including his third double of the year.
- The game is mercifully over.

The Bad:
- Latos (0-2) was knocked around for nine hits and eight runs (all earned) before exiting the game with two outs in the sixth. It's his third sub-par outing in as many starts. His season ERA now stands at 8.22.
- Bill Bray had a rough night at the office as well. The reliever served up four hits and three runs in one inning of work.
- The Cardinals managed to swipe four bags off of rookie Mesoraco.
- The offense mustered just one run, again.
- Jay Bruce is now 1 for his last 23 after a 1-for-4 showing.
- Baker's crew falls to five games back of the Cards in the NL Central.
- Cincy hit into a staggering FOUR double plays in the game.

The Notables:
- Cincy remains winless (0-6) in games played at night on the season. St. Louis remains undefeated (5-0).
- Jaime Garcia improves to 5-0 in five career home starts against the Redlegs.
- The Reds announced today that head trainer Paul Lessard will represent the club as a trainer on the National League All-Star team in Kansas City on July 10th.
- Quote of the night: "I told them if you really need me to do it, I will do it. I just have to get my timing right after I missed those five games. It messed up my timing a little bit. I'm up for the challenge again. I came in worrying about hitting leadoff and getting things going for the team, but as a team, we're not doing our job. I understand that they want to change things up and get people going." -Brandon Phillips on being inserted in the clean-up spot
-Up next: The Reds send Bronson Arroyo (0-0, 2.63) to the mound on Wednesday for the series finale. St. Louis will counter with right-hander Adam Wainwright (0-2, 11.42). The action is slated to get underway at 1:45pm ET.

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